Speeches 1993 - Saturday, 2 October 1993

4. Since the Council, and as formulated by the Code of Canon Law, the theology of communion within the Church has led to the widespread setting–up of consultative structures at different levels. The effective participation of the faithful in the Church’s mission, through parish councils, financial councils, committees for specific activities on both the parish and diocesan level, is an important development in the life of your Dioceses. You are well aware of the successes of this process, but also of the difficulties which remain to be solved, with regard to the educational and formation base of lay cooperators, and in forging more explicit bonds with the Dioceses and parishes in which the laity serve. Through its Committee on the Laity, your Conference has issued helpful guidelines for those serving on parish councils, in order to acquaint them with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on the role of the laity and the application of that teaching found in the Post–Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Christifideles Laici".

Lay people, "by reason of the knowledge, competence, or outstanding ability which they enjoy, are able and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on things which concern the good of the Church" (Lumen Gentium LG 37). They can do this either individually or through appropriate bodies (Cf. Congregation for the Clergy, Omnes Christifideles, 25 January 1973). It is therefore incumbent upon the Church’s Pastors to be attentive to the suggestions and proposals of the lay faithful, while at the same time exercising the freedom and authority which is theirs by divine right to shepherd that part of God’s people entrusted to them.

It would be an error to judge ecclesial structures of participation and cooperation by secular democratic standards, or to consider them as forms of "power-sharing" or means of imposing partisan ideas or interests. They should be looked on as forms of spiritual solidarity proper to the Church as a communion of persons who, "though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Rm 12,5). Such structures are fruitful to the extent that they manifest the true nature of the Church as a hierarchical communion, animated and guided by the Holy Spirit.

When they function according to the spirit of Christ, they are valid signs of how the baptized bear one another’s burdens (Cf. Gal. Ga 6,2) in ways that are appropriate for a community enriched by differentiated hierarchical and charismatic gifts (Cf. Lumen Gentium LG 4).

5. Many other forms of lay participation in the Church’s mission call for your attention and pastoral leadership. One significant measure of the vitality of the Catholic community in the United States is the growing number of lay people who serve as missionaries or volunteers, either for a limited period or permanently. Another is the extensive network of lay movements and organizations active in your country. The National Lay Forum under the auspices of your Conference’s Committee on the Laity is a deserving initiative which can stimulate serious reflection on the lay apostolate, as well as being an incentive for organizations and movements to collaborate more explicitly with one another and with the Bishops. I offer prayers for the success of the next Forum which will be held in 1994 and which will focus on the impact of faith on culture in contemporary American society.

Likewise, the growth of small Christian communities especially within the boundaries of parishes is both a means of formation for lay people and an impetus for mission to the world. In most cases these communities serve to enliven parish life by being active instruments of evangelization and mission. In some cases sensitive pastoral leadership is required in order to ensure that they remain in full communion and harmony with the local Church. "Christifideles Laici" contains appropriate criteria and guidelines for the integration of small communities into the wider ecclesial body (Cf. Christifideles Laici CL 30).

6. Some of your Dioceses have a very high Hispanic Catholic population, which means above all that your ministry must take account of the richness of religious expression and cultural diversity that characterizes the Hispanic community and demands appropriate pastoral programs and initiatives. Among the principal pastoral tasks in relation to the Hispanic community is that of evangelization and catechesis, especially in the face of extremely active proselytism by other religious groups. Leaders in the Catholic Hispanic community frequently point to the need to sustain the family within a community of faith and solidarity, especially through small ecclesial communities that are personal and relevant to the everyday lives of their members. Ministry to young Hispanics should not overlook the importance of transmitting a genuine and demanding spirituality centered on the knowledge and love of Christ the Redeemer and directed to incarnating the spirit of the Beatitudes in daily living. In the end, the success of the Church’s efforts will greatly depend on the fostering of native – born vocations among Hispanic men and women, and the appropriate formation of seminarians and religious, with standards no less challenging than those used for other candidates.

The Missions of the Southwest testify to the fact that the first evangelizers of many of your Dioceses, who spoke Spanish, left a distinct and abiding mark on the religious and cultural traditions of the region. In these traditions there are many values which can serve today as effective channels of a deeper and more effective evangelization. I would ask you to take my heartfelt good wishes and prayerful encouragement to all those involved in the pastoral care of the Hispanic Catholics of the United States.

7. A constant concern of the Church’s Pastors must be the question of whether Catholic laity are receiving a continuing theological and spiritual formation, including formation in the Church’s social doctrine, of a sufficiently high level to enable them to fulfil their role in the Church and in society. This formation should be arranged in such a way as to meet practical difficulties at the parish level where so many secular interests compete for people’s attention.

One particular problem, which touches the heart of the Church’s communion in faith, is the confusion and even scandal caused by Catholics in public office or in the media who advance positions contrary to Church teaching. This is a matter which calls for sensitive leadership on your part. I encourage you in your efforts to offer a clear defense of authentic Catholic doctrine and to foster a better understanding of the "religious assent" of mind and heart required of all the Church’s members (Cf. Lumen Gentium LG 25).

8. Dear Brother Bishops, your presence calls to mind these and other great responsibilities which you face in shepherding the part of God’s people entrusted to your care. May the maternal mediation of the Immaculate Mother of God, Patroness of your country, obtain for you – and all the priests, Religious, lay men and women of your Dioceses – an ever deeper faith, livelier hope and more ardent charity! With my Apostolic Blessing.




Monday, 4 October 1993

Your Eminence,
Dear Brother Bishops,

1. My heart is filled with profound joy as I welcome you, the Pastors of the Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea on the occasion of your visit "ad Limina Apostolorum".When you were last here for this purpose in 1987 you spoke to me movingly of your deep anxiety for the safety and Well–being of your beloved people beset by war, and I gave you my assurance that not only I, but the whole Church, would be praying for the Lord to send you peace. Now, violence has ended. It is a great comfort today that together we can thank God, the Father of all gifts, for the deliverance of the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea from that terrible scourge. As once you came "in tears" to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in order to intercede for deliverance, now you have "come back rejoicing" (Cf. Ps. ).

The "ad Limina" visit provides an opportunity for the Pastors of the particular Churches to give an account of how God’s grace is bearing fruit in the lives of their people. Your Eminence’s remarks vividly call to mind the harsh realities of the situation in which the faithful of Ethiopia and Eritrea have had to live out their baptismal promises. You have testified to their fidelity in the practice of the faith and their generosity in deeds of love.

I ask each one of you to express to your clergy, Religious and laity my deep affection in the Lord, my esteem for their courage and constancy, and my confident hope that just as God strengthened them to bear the distress of the past, so he will now sustain them in responding to the challenges which lie ahead.

2. In the new era which is opening up for Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Churches you shepherd are ready to shoulder a twofold responsibility: to help in the pressing work of recovery from the damage caused by the war, and to contribute to the long–term development of your peoples.

In regard to the immediate task of repairing the harm caused by war, no one can doubt the extent of what needs to be done: the care of those left wounded in body or spirit, the support of widows and orphans, the resettlement of displaced persons and demobilized soldiers, the reunion of families, the rebuilding of homes, the restoration of normal social and economic life. These are monumental tasks which require the dedicated cooperation of everyone. The Catholic faithful, following the example of Christ, who was moved to compassion by the sufferings of the people he met (Cf. Mt. Mt 14,14), will share fully in seeking to alleviate these burdens. In this regard the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, which has been so meritorious in assisting the victims of famine caused by war and drought, is a clear sign and an effective instrument of the will of Catholics to render practical service to those in material or spiritual need.

3. No healing of the wounds of war and violence can come without a spirit of reconciliation on the part of individuals and of the peoples involved. As you emphasized in your 1991 pastoral Letter "Peace Comes from Reconciliation", the hopes of the Ethiopian and Eritrean peoples for peace depend upon achieving national reconciliation, especially through a commitment to ethnic and religious tolerance. I share your satisfaction at the signs which indicate that at many levels there is indeed a firm commitment to reconciliation and cooperation. To heal divisions, pardon injustice, turn enemies into friends, and restore the bonds of solidarity are the signs that "God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rm 5,5). His power is at work in all those who are dedicated to these aims. May the Almighty sustain the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples and their leaders in making ever greater progress along this path, and may the spirit of reconciliation spread beyond the borders of your nations to all parts of the Horn of Africa.

4. The citizens of Ethiopia and Eritrea have high expectations of establishing a society dedicated to the true good of its members a society committed to safeguarding human rights, to rooting out corruption and lawlessness, and to fostering ethnic and civil harmony. Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholics, although they are a small minority, love their country and have a strong sense of their duty to secure for it a brighter future. They seek to be a leaven of justice and solidarity, and they are eager to work with the members of the other Christian Churches, and with men and women of other religions and all people of good will, in building up the communities to which they belong.

The Church offers to your countries, as to every nation or society in which she dwells, the truth which she has received from her divine Founder about the meaning of human life. She proclaims that the root cause of violence is the corruption of man’s heart (Cf. Mt. Mt 15,18-19) and that a society built on the denial of God’s existence and on the encouragement of class conflict cannot succeed, as the events of your recent history bear witness. Man is God’s creature, made by him to live as a social being, working with others for the common good, in such a way that all may pursue their transcendent destiny. Your proclamation of these truths lights up the path towards that integral development which is needed in order for your peoples to move beyond the difficulties bequeathed by the past.

In order to accomplish this important service, the Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea must ever more clearly shine out as that sign of the unity which God wills for all mankind (Cf. Lumen Gentium LG 1). It is of the greatest importance that within the Christian community there should be no rivalry or discord. Whatever their language, race, ethnic background or cultural heritage, the faithful of Ethiopia and Eritrea are part of the one Body of Christ, one in communion of life with the Most Holy Trinity, and "members one of another" (Rm 12,5).

5. Changes in the political and social conditions of your peoples not only present the Church with many challenges in her service of society, but also offer new opportunities for the growth of the Christian community itself. In particular I share your satisfaction at the prospects for evangelization being opened up through the guarantee of religious liberty. I join you in ardent prayer that the clergy, Religious and lay faithful will fully meet the demands of this moment and give shining witness to the Gospel through ever more generous acts of love for God and neighbour.

As Pastors, whose task it is "to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate" in your local Churches (Lumen Gentium LG 27), you are obliged at this time, in response to the new situation, to devote special attention to reorganizing many elements of ecclesial life. I am confident that everything will be done to ensure effective preaching of the Gospel and increased efforts to extend God’s kingdom – the purpose of all Church structures and activities. Indeed, one of the most fortunate results of peace is that more resources can be devoted to evangelizing those to whom the light of the Gospel has not yet come. Even in your own lands, where the faith took root so many centuries ago, there is still a first evangelization to be carried out. The restoration of civil peace makes it all the more possible for the word of God to resound more freely, more widely and more clearly. Much needs to be done. Your clergy and Religious, together with the generous men and women missionaries who serve among you, are all called to renew and strengthen their commitment to the task of evangelization and catechesis. I express my heartfelt affection for all these heralds of the Gospel, and I remember them in my prayers.

6. In this new atmosphere it is likewise to be hoped that the schools and all the other educational programmes of the Church especially religious education – will develop into ever more effective instruments of the apostolate. In the recently promulgated "Catechism of the Catholic Church", the faithful in Ethiopia and Eritrea have a most apt instrument for the task of handing on the faith in its fulness.

The Bishop’s mission to be the chief teacher in his local Church requires him to provide sound teachers of authentic Christian doctrine for his flock (Cf. Christus Dominus CD 14). I encourage you to continue to provide well–formed priests and Religious, teachers and catechists for this service to your people.

Priests are sacramentally consecrated for a special share in the apostolic ministry handed on to Bishops, and therefore one of your chief concerns is their formation both before and after ordination.

Every effort made to strengthen the spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral development of priests will be rewarded abundantly by the increased effectiveness of their service of God’s people.

7. In the months and years ahead, the advancement of ecumenical relations, especially with the clergy and faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will naturally be a matter of particular urgency.

As I recalled during my meeting earlier this year with Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: "We share the faith handed down from the Apostles, as also the same sacraments and the same ministry, rooted in the apostolic succession" (John Paul II, Address to the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 11 June 1993). The success of the dialogue of charity which has been restored between the Catholic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church requires "an improvement in fraternal relationships on all levels" (Ibid. 3). I am confident that the Lord who so ardently desires the unity of his followers will sustain you in all your efforts to promote mutual esteem and love, so that everyone who bears the name of Christian will rediscover the fulness of communion.

8. Even in the darkest days of violent conflict, the faithful of Ethiopia and Eritrea never lost their confidence in the power of the intercession of Mary Mother of Mercy, for she embraces all who call upon her in their distress and never ceases to ask for their deliverance from evil. Your filial trust was not disappointed, and so with all the greater confidence and hope, I join you in commending the faithful of your Churches to her loving protection.

She will obtain for you the strength you need to do all that her Divine Son is asking of you in this decisive hour of your nations’ histories. With heartfelt affection I impart to you and your peoples my Apostolic Blessing.





Clementine Hall

Friday, 8 October 1993

Kjaere brodre i bispe-embedet,
Kjaere brodre og sostre i Kristus,

Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Det gleder meg å kunne onske dere velkommen på deres pilegrimsreise fra Norge, i anledning av ett-hundre-og-femtiåes-jubileet for Kirkens tilbakekomst til deres land. Jeg hilser saerlig Biskop Gerhard Schwenzer av Oslo, Biskop Gerhard Goebel av prelaturet Tromso, og fader Georg Müller av prelaturet Trondheim.

I am pleased to welcome this pilgrimage from Norway, on the occasion of the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the restoration of the Church in your country. My special greetings go to Bishop Gerhard Schwenzer of Oslo, to Bishop Gerhard Goebel of the Territorial Prelature of Tromsö and to Father Georg Müller of the Territorial Prelature of Trondheim.

Our meeting today brings vivid memories of my Pastoral Visit to Norway four years ago. I was able to experience at first hand and to acknowledge publicly the profound effect which a thousand years of Christian life has had on Norwegian society. As I said on, the day of my arrival in Oslo: "Your attention to those in need, your care for the handicapped, the weak and the aged, your protection of the rights of women and of minorities, your willingness to share your wealth with the poor of the world, the generosity with which you have opened your frontiers to refugees, and Norway’s contribution to peace in the world – these are all values which have grown out of your Christian heritage, out of Norway’s ‘baptismal grace’" (John Paul II, Homily during the Mass with the members of the Episcopal Conference of the Nordic Countries in Oslo, 4, 1 June 1989).

This anniversary is a suitable occasion for all Norwegians to give thanks to Almighty God for the abundant harvest of good works which belief in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ has produced down the centuries. For Catholics it is a time to rejoice in the restoration and progressive extension of religious freedom, which has developed into increasing mutual understanding and closer cooperation between the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities.

Every jubilee celebration invites us also to look with hope towards the future. In recent years, Norway has been enriched by the arrival of many immigrants, who have found in the Church a welcome home and ready assistance in their needs. In facing the resulting pastoral challenges, the Church in your country has a great opportunity for spiritual growth and for a deeper awareness of the communion of all the members of Christ’s Body in the Holy Spirit who pours forth the Father’s love into our hearts (Cf. Rom. Rm 5,5).

Dear friends: I pray that your pilgrimage to Rome will strengthen your resolve to share the gift of faith with others. I urge you to bear ever more joyful witness to the Gospel, the "word of truth" (Col 1,5) which reveals the authentic meaning of human life and destiny. Together with your brothers and sisters of other Christian communities, be messengers of the splendour of that truth in your society, and so encourage all Norwegians to a renewal of faith in Christ and commitment to the Gospel values which have shaped your country’s history.

Måtte Olav den Hellige, den vise konge og trofaste etterfolger av Kristus, styrke dere og alle Norges kristne på deres vei i troskap til den dåpens nåde dere har tatt imot. Med stor hengivenhet til dere i Herren, lyser jeg av hele mitt hjerte min apostoliske velsignelse over dere alle: May Saint Olav, wise king and faithful follower of Christ, sustain you and your fellow citizens along the way of fidelity to the grace of your Baptism. With great affection in the Lord, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.

Gud Velsine Norge!
Gud velsigne hele det norske folk!
Gut velsigne Norge!
Gut velsigne hele det norske folk!




Saturday, 9 October 1993

Your Eminence,
Dear Brother Bishops,

1. With "the affection of Christ Jesus" (Ph 1,8), I greet you, the second group of Australian Bishops in Rome this year for your visit "ad Limina Apostolorum". I give heartfelt thanks to our Heavenly Father for our "partnership in the gospel" (Ibid. 1: 5) and for the communion of faith and charity which binds us together in the service of God’s people. I ask you to express to all the clergy, religious and laity of your Dioceses my solicitude for their continuing growth in grace and holiness of life.

My meeting with the Bishops from Australia who were here in May was an opportunity to consider the nature of the threefold Episcopal Office and some practical consequences for its exercise in contemporary society. The Bishop’s identity as priest, teacher and shepherd of Christ’s flock is a gift which we hold in common, for the Episcopal Order is collegial in nature and meaning (Cf. Lumen Gentium LG 22). It is in the context of our shared responsibility to fulfil the Lord’s mandate for the universal preaching of the Good News (Cf. Mk. Mc 16,15) that I make the following reflections, in order to encourage you in your pastoral ministry.

2. I remember my conversation with young people via radio during the flight to Darwin in the course of my Pastoral Visit to your country in 1986. One of the children asked, "What is the hardest thing about being Pope?", and I answered: "To see that many people do not accept the love of Jesus, do not know who he really is and how much he loves them" (John Paul II, Address to the students of the "Katherine School of Air" in Melbourne, 3, 29 November 1986). Although formulated to be understood by a child, this reply goes to the very centre of what is involved in our call to evangelize. We exist to preach Christ.

All the strength of our hearts and minds must be dedicated to making him known – to sharing with others "the word of life... the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us" (1Jn 1,2). The person and message of Jesus are the form and substance, the source and goal, the inspiration and the reward of our whole ministry.

Pastors need to be able to understand in the light of faith the cultural context within which they serve, so that they can judge correctly the most effective ways to present the Gospel message to their hearers. "Reading the signs of the times" means identifying the values and currents within society which positively conform to the spirit of the Gospel and those which, on the contrary, are in contrast with the teaching given by Christ, and which form barriers to the assent of faith. Fidelity to baptismal grace demands that the members of the Church should avoid assimilating from their social milieu values, opinions or patterns of behaviour in conflict with the Christian life. As Saint Paul reminds us, Christians ought not to be "conformed to this world" (Rm 12,2). Rather it is the world that needs to be conformed to Christ. As Bishops, your discernment and leadership is essential.

3. One of the clearest manifestations of the "newness" of life in Christ is family life lived in accordance with the Saviour’s call for the restoration of God’s original plan for this fundamental human reality (Cf. Mk. Mc 10,6-9). The renewed dedication of yourselves and your priests to the zealous pastoral care of young people and of engaged and married couples – especially by means of sound and thorough catechesis – will help the People of God in Australia to bear this much needed witness. The Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio" invites every Bishop to devote to the pastoral care of the family "personal interest, care, time, personnel and resources, but above all personal support for the families and for all those who, in the various diocesan structures, assist him in the pastoral care of the family" (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio FC 73). I wish to encourage you and your brother Bishops to continue your efforts in this field, realizing the importance of a strong family life for the future of the Church, as also for the future of society itself.

4. At a time when powerful forces are working to advance a "culture of death", it is incumbent upon the Pastors and the faithful of the Church to proclaim boldly and unambiguously the sanctity of human life from conception to the moment of natural death. No human life is ever without meaning. The unborn must be guaranteed the right to live; the physical and mental integrity of the incurably sick and the severely handicapped must be inviolable; and the terminally ill must be supported and cared for with full respect for their dignity.

The recent "World Youth Day" in Denver showed how deeply young people feel about the value of life and the defence of the right to life. They have a spontaneous perception of the fact that manifestations of the "culture of death" are not the progressive steps towards a better world and a more dignified life for people that they are often made out to be. Rather, they are the product of the darkening of the moral conscience which occurs when certain anthropological and ethical theories of human behaviour or the exaggeration of freedom distort the true light of conscience: the light by which the individual perceives – in words of the recent Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" – "that primordial insight about good and evil, that reflection of God’s creative wisdom which, like an imperishable spark (scintilla animae), shines in the heart of every man" (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor VS 59). One of the principal services which the Church can offer to humanity at this time is to teach the true nature of conscience, to defend the universality and permanent validity of moral norms, and to foster a genuine sense of human freedom. The precise purpose of the new Encyclical is to present the Church’s teaching on these fundamental matters which are at the heart of the moral crisis affecting contemporary society.

5. In a highly secularized environment, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God through the witness of men and women religious takes on heightened importance, and I wish to invite you to pay renewed attention to the promotion and care of religious life in your country. The practice of the evangelical counsels testifies "to the fact of a new and eternal life acquired by the redemption of Christ. It foretells the resurrected state and the glory of the heavenly Kingdom" (Lumen Gentium LG 44). The distinctive role of religious in announcing these fundamental elements of the Gospel message fully justifies your expanding of initiatives, both in your Dioceses and through your Episcopal Conference, to encourage more young men and women to respond generously to the vocation to Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

This is the appropriate moment to express once again the Church’s appreciation of all that the zealous religious in Australia have accomplished through schools, hospitals and other works and institutions. This vast service to God’s people has been strengthened where religious communities have appropriately answered the Council’s call for renewal through greater fidelity to the Gospel, the reappropriation of their founding charism, and a recommitment to the essential elements of religious life. Your confirmation of these good fruits, as well as your assistance to individuals and communities in difficult situations of discernment, is a necessary and significant part of your episcopal ministry to the religious of your Dioceses.

6. The essential nature of the priestly ministry in the life of the Church calls the whole Catholic community to be concerned about a decline in the number of those answering God’s call to become priests. As you have already shown, your serious efforts at recruitment, complemented by a commitment to rigorous screening, do bring results. You must sow and plant: the Lord will give the increase (Cf. 1Co 3,7). As indicated in the reports prepared for this quinquennial visit, you are aware of the need for careful attention to all aspects of vocational recruitment, including the increased number of candidates to the priesthood entering formation after being established in secular professions and the training of students in seminaries which have ties with other educational institutions.

Pressures to place older candidates in an accelerated programme must take account of the fact that priests need those experiences of spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral formation which the Church has directed to be spread over a full course of philosophical and theological studies (Cf. Code of Canon Law CIC 250). To abbreviate or curtail any essential aspect of priestly training is to put the future priest in the position of not being fully able to respond to the heavy demands of priestly life and ministry. Moreover, when a seminary is affiliated with another post-secondary institution, especially one of an ecumenical character, the Bishop has a particular obligation to ensure that the course of studies is suitable to the specific nature of the priestly ministry in the Catholic Church. At stake is the candidate’s very understanding of the priesthood and his assimilation of the convictions, attitudes and behaviour required for a worthy and virtuous priestly life.

The experience of past generations, confirmed by empirical evidence, indicates that the grace of a priestly vocation is often manifested early in a boy’s life, in ways that are appropriate to his age. This fact indicates the need to provide pastoral care for those who show the first stirrings of a vocation – a pastoral care which will help them to identify its signs and support them in seeking to follow it (Cf. John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis PDV 8-9 PDV 40). Consequently, various forms of pastoral work on behalf of vocations should be an integral part of the catechesis of children and adolescents.

7. In your efforts to strengthen the Church for her mission of evangelization, many of you – like Bishops in other parts of the world – are taking advantage of processes for assessing resources and planning for the future. Such procedures and strategies, often borrowed from secular institutions, can help, insofar as they take on a new purpose and a new internal principle within the context of the Church’s life. Because the Church is the efficacious sign of – man’s communion with the Holy Trinity, such procedures, like all the consultative structures we use, must serve to strengthen the bonds of ecclesial fellowship.

While consulting with others in all good faith and listening to them in a spirit of true dialogue, a Bishop can never set his magisterial office to one side. As "the visible principle and foundation of unity in his particular Church" (Lumen Gentium LG 23), he, like Christ, speaks with authority (Cf. Mt. Mt 7,29), and this grace is given to him so that he can confirm the faith of the disciples and correct their errors "in season and out of season" (2Tm 4,2).

8. Dear Brothers, the Third Millennium is fast approaching. We should remember the Lord’s words about the abundance of the harvest to be reaped through our service of the Gospel (Cf. Mt. Mt 9,37). We are being called to dedicate ourselves with fresh vigour to the work of sharing the light of truth with all men and women. I pray that through your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul the Spirit of God will strengthen you for the work of the new evangelization. I entrust you, your priests, religious and lay faithful to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, and I impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in her Divine Son.

Speeches 1993 - Saturday, 2 October 1993